There can be few things more uplifting after a cold, dark winter than British spring flowers heralding brighter weather ahead. Don’t get me wrong, winter has it’s merits, but for me spring is a time for fresh starts and there are few more glorious than the beginning of the flowering season for a great number of our native plants. I thought I’d share a few photos from my recent local wanderings which encapsulate just a couple of my favourite finds this spring.
I’ll begin at the beginning with one of the earlier species to flower, the Wood Anemone which, in the right conditions, can carpet a woodland floor to much the same effect as the Bluebells do later. These dainty flowers are also known as Wind Flowers for their propensity to nod at the slightest breeze. They are an excellent source of nectar for the earlier of the bees to emerge too and here I’ve captured a Bee Fly feeding on one.
Next to my County flower, the Pasque flower. I was really thrilled to find these in huge numbers at a site not too far from home. I was a little late visiting this year so have singled out one flower for this image but hope to capture them in all their carpeting glory next year with any luck. In the meantime I will definitely keep it on my must visit list as the year progresses to see what other wildflower wonders it holds in store. I am really fond of these rare little flowers, a relative of the Anemone above.
My next flower to share with you is the Cuckoo flower, Cardamine pratensis. This little member of the Cress family likes damp spots and when left to it’s own devices can create quite a stunning effect turning a wet meadow pale pinkish-white with hundreds of flowers. The plant is one of the food plants of the Orange Tip butterfly, Anthocharis cardamines which takes the latter part of it’s Latin name from the first half of the plant’s. The petals have a delicate veining which I have tried to capture by focusing on a single bloom within the flower stalk.
Another flower of which I’m particularly fond is Greater Stitchwort. It has lovely white flowers and reminds me of country walks as a child. The common name is supposedly derived from the very fine stem of the plant which is said to fit through the eye of a needle. I thought I’d try something a little different for this shot and so, using the dappled light of a woodland floor and a heavy dew to best effect, I exposed to create a slightly ethereal bokeh effect in the background which I really rather like.
A flower which I hadn’t photographed before this spring was the Bush Vetch (Vicia sepium). I found some growing alongside Bluebells in a local wood and loved the shapes it created with it’s searching tendrils and the wonderful colour combination. Here I’ve used the Bluebells as a backdrop for the Vetch.
Next has to be another favourite of mine, the Green-winged Orchid. I have written about these before and cannot help but take more photos every year when I find them, they are just SO beautiful! I am often asked why they are called “green-winged”, the answer lies in the green stripes on the outer petals which are harder to spot on some of the darker colour forms. I am incredibly lucky to have a fantastic spot for these gorgeous flowers within walking distance of my house so I can’t leave them out!
Lastly, who could miss the Bluebells!? Almost synonymous with spring in a British woodland, these stunning flowers are at their best when the weather is warming and the first of our new season butterflies emerge. Who can resist a Bluebell with a butterfly on it after all? My final two images of spring flowers are of Orange Tip and Green Veined White butterflies on British Bluebells.